Mayor admits lot splitting rules may need to change

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Portland’s mayor admitted that the city’s rules on lot splitting may need to change.

A group in Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood recently fought to prevent a developer from buying a home there, knocking it down and then building two homes on the same plot of land – a process known as lot splitting.

“This issue highlighted the larger problem,” Portland Mayor Charlie Hales told KOIN 6 News on Wednesday. “I’m not sure we have it right yet, and even if they worked out a truce in this [Eastmoreland neighborhood] case, there are still the big questions we all need to work on.”

The group of neighbors in Eastmoreland fighting the developers said they are finalizing an agreement to purchase the property back.

“[We’re] overjoyed. We’ve saved the house. We’ve saved the trees. We’re saving the neighborhood,” said Robert McCullough, who lives in Eastmoreland.

However, the lot splitting issue has turned into a hot button topic all over Portland with many neighborhoods lacking the means or money to fight back in the manner the Eastmoreland residents did.

Hales said in light of the recent issue in Eastmoreland, he is willing to take another look at the broader policy of lot splitting.

“We are taking a look at that lot splitting issue as we work on our comprehensive plan right now,” said Hales.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who is in charge of the planning department, said she is also willing to change the rules regarding lot splitting.

Vic Remmers, who is the developer walking away from the Eastmoreland property, said the answer to the problem is not banning the entire process, claiming lot splitting is a necessity.

“It’s necessary because the prices of land, the prices of homes, are getting to a certain point to where if you just bought one and built one, it financially probably wouldn’t be feasible,” said Remmers. “When it’s done responsibly, when it’s done right, I think it’s a good thing.”

Resident in Eastmoreland said just because they were able to prevent lot splitting in their neighborhood, they are not done tackling this issue. All seven neighborhood coalitions said they are joining together to work to change the rules, getting more say for people when it comes to development in their area.

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